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Rochester, NY, United States

Hypnotic Clambake's latest album ‘Mayonnaise’ is a profound exploration of song, sound and flavour. The mixture of 80s pop, jazz instrumentals and a big band sound leads to an album that lifts you off your feet and keeps you there, aloft, just off of the ground. You don’t stay still though, you twist and turn and flip upside down as the songs batter you with boundless creativity. Experimental doesn’t quite fill the glove. For ‘Mayonnaise’ to be experimental it would have to be an approximation of a sound to come, an idea, a flash in the dark. Hypnotic Clambake has presented this sound to us fully formed, suited, booted, and ready to rock and roll. In a jazzy show tune Captain Beefheart kind of way, and it is, as the name suggests, hypnotic.

‘Mayonnaise’ features instrumental tracks alongside acoustic numbers as well as songs that hit that classic formula, instrumental, percussion, vocals, and backing. But even the songs that don’t decimate the norm play with the air and the tone. You’ll know what I mean as soon as the first few seconds of ‘500 Robots’ fills your ears. The instrumental is there but it's jumping and moving, it's slippery. The percussion is in the back and sits there to add seasoning, and peppering breaks here and there with snappy responses and salty textures. Vocals sing in a conversational way, they’re light and inviting, melodic without trying too hard. They play tennis with horns in a jazz band that slide in and out of the track. It creates a soundstage that is unlike any other, it is a brilliant and wondrous space to exist in.

The songs grow ever more diverse as you go, ‘Trouble’ feels bluesy with a twist, it adds the Clambake weird with some Americana twang and were left with a song that feels all at once historic and futuristic. But ‘Mayonnaise’ has so many more flavours to it. ‘Beans’ is funky, it's deep and sultry. It takes notes from hip-hop and lends them to the percussion, smashing cymbals to keep time and wash out the back. A hearty bass line fills the mid and the vocals chirp and tweet in short sweet bursts. Then, just when it's all coming back to normality, ‘Man With The Face On The Side’ throws us to the jazzy soul wolves. It feels like rock from the 50s or 60s, it's smooth and tells a story, there’s imagery all over the place but the main attraction is that riff that grows and grows. Horns, guitar, bass, drums, everyone gets their sound on it and it is a hook that just won’t quit.

All that, and we haven’t scratched the surface. Describing this album is troublesome at best because of just how unique it is. Going from the slow and bar side flare of ‘Turn Your Brain Off’ with its layered vocals and simplistic backing, to ‘Danger Mouse’, a big band jazz instrumental track that would feel at home in the Incredibles soundtrack, does throw your system into overdrive. What Hypnotic Clambake has done with ‘Mayonnaise’ is have fun. It comes across on every track and you can feel it in the beat, it's fast, it's complex and it's simple, all at once.

Weird and delightful, ‘Mayonnaise’ is a staple in any pantry. Its initial flavour is deceptively simple and is nothing compared to its versatility. Whether spicy, sweet, savoury or gluten-free, there’s something for absolutely everyone when it comes to ‘Mayonnaise’. Its sublime arrangement and tasty twists will get even the most stubborn of household guests moving to its tangy and sour jive. Would I recommend it? In absolutely any scenario, yes, a must-have experience for each and every one of us.


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